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Monday, September 18, 2017

Problem Child

      I don't know if having problematic children has become more prevalent in more recent years or if the world has always seen its share of problem children, but they weren't discussed about or shown all over social media an the news.

     I hope that the clip above is working correctly and that you get to see a few minutes of one of my favorite movies as a kid. In the movie Problem Child, a couple adopt a young boy who has a history of being naughty. I remember watching the movie as a child and thinking everything was hilarious. Now, as an adult of a child who seems to get themselves in trouble, I find myself in John Ritter's shoes.

     There is a sense of hopelessness sometimes when you have a child who misbehaves. You get embarrassed, angry, and sad. You're always wondering what you could do better. As a problem child myself, I empathize and sympathize with both the child and the parent.

     In the last two weeks, I have had two small children come up to me and tell me that my child is bad or naughty. I've had secretaries and principals call me to tell me about my child's behavior and have asked me to come talk with my child or to bring my child home.  It feels overwhelming and confusing. What did I do wrong?

     I know the answer to that question. I did nothing wrong. I have another child in school and that child is doing wonderfully. They listen, they behave well, and don't talk out of turn. When you see the comparison, you know that I did something right. When you see my third child, you see how much that child loves me as they plant kisses and give me awesome hugs. When you see each one with me, there's no mistake that they are comfortable with me, that they know that they can be themselves and that they are in a safe home and environment. You see, at home, my naughty child is a normal child. They act and behave like any normal child, but at school, things change.

     If you don't see the clip, the clip shows the boy Junior. He's dressed as the devil at a children's costume birthday party. He walks into the room that holds all the presents that were brought by guests. He pick up a present and looks at it. The birthday girl walks in on him and starts to scold him. A bunch of girls follow her and stand around her, each saying that Junior has cooties and that he can't play with him and tease him for being adopted. When it's time for the magician to start, the birthday girl tells him that he's not allowed to come out and watch and since she's the birthday girl, she gets what she wants. From there, Junior exacts his revenge with several pranks and is labeled, once again, a problem child.

     As a parent, I see what I didn't see when I watched the movie as a child. Those things that those girls were saying were hurtful. When I'm hurt, I want someone to pay for it. I wasn't a child who held things in when I was hurt. I often times fought back and that labeled me as a problem child. It's easier to see a child who fights back vs the child who name calls or says other hurtful things. That child hardly ever got in trouble when the teacher didn't see what had happened. Maybe back in my day, the teacher gave the child the benefit of the doubt, but today, it seems that the mentality is, "If I didn't see it, it didn't happen."

     Where we live, my children are actually the minority race. I don't think that they are being picked on because of the color of their skin, though. I think that in my problem child's case, they are just a bunch of kids all struggling for the same attention and  they take it upon themselves to bring it to them no matter the cost. At home, my problem child only has to compete for attention with two other kids. At school, it's much more.

    Because of the new curriculum that is forced down many teachers' throats, school isn't fun or engaging. They took away nap times and longer recesses. Kids are forced to learn and listen with no relief to move around or do something in sight. Not all schools are like this, but many are, especially those in the Chicago area. One of my children also told me that when you are at lunch, you're expected to be silent so if someone is choking, they can be heard. How are we to expect kids to not go stir crazy when they can't even socialize during the day or at least at lunch time? It's no wonder that when they are face to face with another problem child that they hash it out and there are consequences for doing so. I mean, they just sit there and brood all day. When they try to talk in class, they are asked to be quiet and that can be hurtful.

     I didn't give much argument to my point, or really even a point. However, maybe next time you see a child having a meltdown or at school, don't look to the parent for blame, unless that parent absolutely refuses to handle it. Don't blame the child either. There are so many circumstances in that child's life that could lead up to their behavior. Maybe they had a crappy day, maybe someone hit them, or maybe their home life isn't the greatest. It's even possible that the child has a condition that causes behavioral issues. It's ok mamas and daddies to feel like maybe that you've done something wrong. Chances are, unless you're a really crappy parent, you haven't done anything wrong at all and we, the parents of other problem children sympathize with you.

     Continue to be a John Ritter and speak kindness to your child. It makes a world of difference to have someone be on your side.

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About Me

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Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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